Mountain biodiversity


Mountains loom large in some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes.
Their unique topography, compressed climatic zones and isolation have created the conditions for a wide spectrum of life forms.

Half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are concentrated in mountains and mountains support approximately one-quarter of terrestrial biological diversity. Mountains are home to rare species of plants and animals. These include increasingly rare animals such as gorillas, mountain lions, and the majestic tahr or strikingly beautiful plants such as orchids and lobelias.

A large portion of the world's most precious gene pools (for agriculture and medicine) are preserved in mountains. Crops that are important for food security, such as maize, potatoes, barley, sorghum, tomatoes, beans and apples, have been diversified in mountains and an array of domestic animals - sheep, goats, yaks, llamas and alpacas - have originated or been diversified in mountains. Other crops, such as wheat, rye, rice, oats and grapes, have found new homes in the mountains and evolved into many varieties. Coffee and tea, with their roots in Ethiopia and the Himalayan region, are mountain crops as well. Medicinal plants are one of the most valuable resources from high altitudes. This rich biodiversity holds cultural, ecological and economic value. In the Andes, for example, farmers know of as many as 200 different varieties of indigenous potatoes and, in Nepal, they farm approximately 2 000 varieties of rice.

Climate change, poverty, commercial mining, logging and poaching all exact a heavy toll on mountain biodiversity. The sustainable management of mountain biodiversity has increasingly been recognized as a global priority. The Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a Programme of Work on Mountain Biological Diversity in 2004, which includes a set of actions and targets addressing characteristics and problems that are specific to mountain ecosystems. 

 

MP member wins sustainability award

MP member wins sustainability award

news

In June 2015, Fundación Cordillera Tropical (FCT) has won the 2015 National Energy Globe Award for Ecuador in recognition of its commitment to creating sustainable livelihoods in the southern Ecuadorian Andes. Energy Globe, the world award for sustainability, recognized FCT's program to promote pasture restoration on private land bordering Sangay National...

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Understanding mountain soils

Understanding mountain soils

publication

In every mountain region, soils constitute the foundation for agriculture, supporting essential ecosystem functions and food security. Mountain soils benefit not only the 900 million people living in the world’s mountainous areas but also billions more living downstream.

Soil is a fragile resource that needs time to regenerate. Mountain...

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A Year-long Ascent: Mountain Partnership Secretariat Annual Report

A Year-long Ascent: Mountain Partnership Secretariat Annual Report

publication

The Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS) reflects its key achievements in promoting sustainable mountain development (SMD) in its 2014 annual report. Using mountain climbing as an analogy to facing SMD challenges, the annual report outlines its work in advocacy, communication and knowledge management, promoting International Mountain Day, brokering joint action and...

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Transnational Working Table 1

Transnational Working Table 1

event

The first of two workshops on the results of projects in mountainous European countries and on the development of the Alps will allow participants to share knowledge and experiences on Alpine Space Projects. The meeting will also discuss WikiAlps, an encyclopaedia-like online platform, and its potential use in policy design...

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High-Altitude Rangelands and their Interfaces in the Hindu Kush Himalayas

High-Altitude Rangelands and their Interfaces in the Hindu Kush Himalayas

publication

This publication, issued on the 30th anniversary of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), contains a collection of papers and scholarly articles by ecologists, natural resource managers, and other professionals working on the high-altitude rangelands of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. The interfaces between high-altitude rangelands and other...

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High-Altitude Rangelands and their Interfaces in the Hindu Kush Himalayas

High-Altitude Rangelands and their Interfaces in the Hindu Kush Himalayas

publication

This publication, issued on the 30th anniversary of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), contains a collection of papers and scholarly articles by ecologists, natural resource managers, and other professionals working on the high-altitude rangelands of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. The interfaces between high-altitude rangelands and other...

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